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Thread: Could I be allergic to my implants......again?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Connecticut
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    Could I be allergic to my implants......again?

    I had a spinal fusion with correction for scoliosis May 2015. Six months later, in terrible terrible pain, my doctor suggested I might be allergic to the stainless steel since he now asks me if I am allergic to jewelry, which I am. I did not know they were going to use stainless steel, which contains 'nickel', the culprit for being allergic to jewelry.

    I had a revision surgery Jan 2016 to switch out the rods to titanium.........but now 7 months post op, I am still in excruciating pain. I am petrified that I may be allergic to the titanium that was used to replace the stainless steel.

    My surgeon said I would never survive without my implants, due to the large amount of it in me. He said my spine, even after the fusions were healed, let's say a year or more.......he said my spine would not be able to support me without the implants.........but can I live with this pain? I would love to hear if there is anyone out there with any similar situation. I cannot find much online. Thanks, Carol

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    758
    Carol I have not had that reaction. I thought titanium did not produce that reaction. Maybe it is something else.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    NC
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    Hey, here is what Dr. Hey has to say about this issue.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP773c0HrHk
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
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    When I was at the NIH we had a patient with an allergy to her implants. She had infection throughout her back, everything was inflamed and raw. It was horrible. If you have even a fraction of what she had, I am so sorry that it is happening to you!!! It took her years to heal. I know people do have their rods removed for nickle allergy on rare occasions, and while there are the occasional reports in the literature regarding a titanium and nickle implant allergy, here is my completely untested hypothesis...

    If you were allergic to nickle, from what I've seen in the clinics, it takes a very long time for that to heal (my n is small though), especially with a large implant. You may still be healing. That being said, there are allergy tests they can do. I would visit an allergist, maybe (and I don't say this too often) at a university where they have seen more than the usual run of the mill metal allergy. If you have an internal allergy to both, that should be in the literature (IMHO).

    What Dr. Hey forgot from his medical histology course (and apparently the rest of the allergy people at Duke ) is that all your organs are covered in epidermis that have the same receptors as skin does. Ions from metal do leech into the body. That's why true metal allergies are very scary.

    Do take a look at PMID: 27219723 and 17252668 in Pubmed.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data" --Frank Kotsonis

    Ph.D. in Bone Biology
    Harrington rod and Leuke sublaminar wires 2/1986, fused T4 to T12.
    First revision 3/1987 fused pseudoarthrosis, placed CD instrumentation from T10-T12.
    CD instrumentation removal 10/97 following breakage.
    Leuke wire removal 4/99.
    Salvage surgery; Harrington removal 1/2000, fused to L2.
    Ruptured disc, fusion extension to L4 3/2016.
    Surgeons: David Bradford, Francois Denis, Mike Lagrone

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,901
    Thanks for commenting! This is so far outside of my field that I can't form any opinion.

    I love your comment on Hey and Duke. It's hard to know if there is or isn't any consensus of professional opinion on any topic without burning hundreds of hours investigating that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prfbones View Post
    When I was at the NIH we had a patient with an allergy to her implants. She had infection throughout her back, everything was inflamed and raw. It was horrible. If you have even a fraction of what she had, I am so sorry that it is happening to you!!! It took her years to heal. I know people do have their rods removed for nickle allergy on rare occasions, and while there are the occasional reports in the literature regarding a titanium and nickle implant allergy, here is my completely untested hypothesis...

    If you were allergic to nickle, from what I've seen in the clinics, it takes a very long time for that to heal (my n is small though), especially with a large implant. You may still be healing. That being said, there are allergy tests they can do. I would visit an allergist, maybe (and I don't say this too often) at a university where they have seen more than the usual run of the mill metal allergy. If you have an internal allergy to both, that should be in the literature (IMHO).

    What Dr. Hey forgot from his medical histology course (and apparently the rest of the allergy people at Duke ) is that all your organs are covered in epidermis that have the same receptors as skin does. Ions from metal do leech into the body. That's why true metal allergies are very scary.

    Do take a look at PMID: 27219723 and 17252668 in Pubmed.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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